Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about TalentSum. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the form below if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

What is TalentSum?

TalentSum is a talent acquisition consultancy and best practices implementation firm. We combine strategy, marketing, technology, sourcing and analytics to transform how our clients attract, engage and hire people – and reduce costs and cycle-time along the way.

Our approach is very different from the traditional recruitment firm model. We don’t drive our business model with a focus on high-fee recruiting. Instead, we rely on a much more consultative approach and work alongside our clients as a full parter with complete transparency to drive long-term talent acquisition success.

Think of us as your rapid-response team – a mix of seasoned talent professionals, data analysts and researchers, marketers and strategists, sourcing specialists, technologists and innovators – set up to improve the way talent acquisition work is done. We’ll help you to improve your ability to attract top people while reducing expenses and time to hire.

We do all of this because we believe strategic talent acquisition creates a real competitive advantage for the business, supports the objectives of talent leaders, hiring managers and recruiting professionals, and can lead to highly engaged employees and high-performing cultures.

Whether you need advice and assistance to get work done, consulting to implement leading practices, hard-hitting marketing or scalable POS/RPO to extend in-house capacity, or additional people to augment your team, TalentSum is here for you.

  • Our Services – list of some of the most popular services we offer
  • Focus Areas – list of all the types of problems we solve as a company.
  • TalentSum Pro – our talent acquisition support platform that scales up/down.
  • TALENTSUM 360 – our objective talent acquisition assessment.
  • TalentSum Blog – our own blog on trends, tactics and tools for TA leaders.
  • Contact us – our address, phone and form to reach out.


What does TalentSum provide?

From ad-hoc team support and specialists projects to managed programs and supplemental support – we’ll help you build up a modern talent acquisition and hiring approach so you can deliver better outcomes, experiences and value for your organization.

Think of us as your rapid-response team – a mix of seasoned talent professionals, researchers, marketers, strategists, technologists and innovators – set up to improve the way talent acquisition work is done.

We’ve been called a “heavy lifter” more than once. Probably because a lot of what we do is tackle challenges related to infrastructure and change. We’re perfectly content working with our clients behind the scenes – helping them to manage the gaps, handle overflow, execute projects, improve workflows, and optimize the TA department.

We can provide you with the following:

  • we provide you with fresh insights through an objective assessment (TALENTSUM 360).
  • we partner with you to help pick up the slack through our support program (TalentSum Pro).
  • we help you to define, implement, and deliver special projects and solutions.
  • we serve as a natural extension of your team to manage ongoing streams of work.
  • we augment or extend your core, in-house team with additional FT/PT resources.

Learn more about our Services and Focus Areas.

What problem does TalentSum solve?

We solve problems across six (6) important areas:

Talent Data and Strategy – We help you analyze talent data and translate insights into insights you can use to improve your ability to attract talent — the right people, not just anyone.

Brand Activation – We translate insights and create a compelling employer brand and value propositions that connect with others and helps you stand out from the competition.

Recruitment Marketing – We help you to stand out and connect with your new, authentic employer brand. We help you share your organization and engage with candidates using best practice marketing.

Pipeline Development and Sourcing – We help you to source for talent and be ready for what comes next. We help you shortlist candidates, build pipelines of talent, gather intel from potential candidates and more.

Recruitment and Hiring Optimization – We help you achieve optimization of related systems and processes. Our team has the knowledge and expertise needed to design and build out your front-to-back approach all across the talent acquisition landscape.

Technology and Tools – We help your team choose, implement and maintain hundreds of useful talent acquisition and HR technologies used to analyze, brand, engage, source, recruit, hire and on-board.

Why does TalentSum do the work it does?

We believe that acquiring the right talent and keeping people engaged and committed is the most important set of actions an organization can take to build their business and improve results. We believe that better opportunities and a brighter future comes from attracting, engaging and hiring the right people – and that an optimized talent acquisition approach can be a real business driver and bring true competitive advantage.

But if that’s not enough, we do this work because helping companies transform their company through people is exactly what we want to be doing with our time.

Loosely interpreted, our mission is to “unsuck” every workplace on earth. To accomplish our mission, we need to focus our work efforts to make the following 3 things happen:

  1. companies need to become healthy and more attractive places to work
  2. employers need to be able to attract, hire and keep all the right people on board
  3. people need to be able to find and stay connected to the best work for them

Who started TalentSum?

In 2014, Christopher Mengel decided to take talent acquisition down a fresh path, and started the firm that would become known as TalentSum.

Christopher is a veteran entrepreneur with 20+ years experience building and working at the intersection of marketing and talent acquisition. TalentSum is the third talent acquisition firm Christopher has founded.

Christopher has also founded other businesses (strategy consulting, marketing services, Web design, visual/product search advertising) and has held several key senior leadership roles (in both private and public companies) with responsibility across Marketing and Sales, Operations, Business Development and Talent Acquisition.

Christopher has personally led well over 100 marketing and/or talent acquisition-related client engagements in more than 50 companies across more than a dozen industries.

In addition, Christopher has considerable experience building and working within the staffing/recruitment industry. Over the years, he has helped multiple CEOs found and/or grow their own temporary staffing firms, recruitment process outsourcing firms, government contracting firms, outsourced recruitment firms, executive search firms, contingency search firms, and IT staff augmentation firms.

What kind of companies hire TalentSum?

We’re typically hired by C-level executives inside funded startups, growth companies, and middle market firms (or divisions of larger firms) with between 50-5000 employees.

Most companies at this stage are looking to either modernize in-house recruitment capabilities and/or talent acquisition functions to attract, engage and hire even more right-fit candidates – or they want to reduce their dependence on using traditional third-party search agencies and their high success fees. Understanding “fit” (across culture, performance and role/job) is a problem they all seem to have – regardless of firm size.

We see ourselves as a true partner with companies to improve attraction and candidate quality, shorten time-to-hire, free up internal staff, and possibly even lower reliance on 3rd-party agencies.

There are five primary ways we engage with our clients:

What is TalentSum Pro?

Think of TalentSum Pro as your strategically-minded, extra set of hands  – a mixture of seasoned business professionals, marketers, strategists, technologists, recruiters and innovators – set up to help you get more work done faster and improve results along the way. It’s perfect for talent leaders, hiring managers and over-extended teams looking for specialist support or advisory assistance in the design and optimization of the operating model. Our TalentSum Pro plan starts at just $989 per month!

How does TalentSum Pro work? We start with a kickoff meeting and follow up with a full discovery session. We use our first few hours together to discuss your most critical issues and to determine where our team can have the most impact. Then we work with you to build a brighter future with better talent acquisition. Learn more about our TalentSum Pro plan.

What comes with TalentSum Pro? This plan was designed to help you solve complex issues, guide best practice and/or to support DIY efforts. It includes full team support via phone, text, email or by cloud-based collaboration tools. You’ll get access to our team, proprietary research, how-to’s, tool reviews, and more. While we’re working with you, we’ll also help to promote your brand and culture through our own content media efforts as we are able.

Can TalentSum Pro be upgraded or expanded? Yes! We’ve designed a step-wise approach to support your needs and grow with you over time. Here’s how a new relationship with TalentSum can evolve over time:

We start with TalentSum Pro plan and use our time together to assist you in the design and optimization of the operating model. As involvement expands, we can provide you with additional hours (“pay-per-use”). We can work this way with you for as little or as long as you need or want.

Over time, as your needs go up and down, we can adapt with you. To match your needs, we can draft SOWs and deliver project consulting services to implement leading practices. Or we can work with you to design and implement managed programs to extend your in-house capacity. We can also add hourly sourcing to further operationalize your hiring function, resulting in an even shorter time to hire and no disruption to your current team. We can even support the deployment of additional people with contract services to help round out your existing team.

What if I want to cancel TalentSum Pro? Not a problem, TalentSum operates on a rolling monthly basis, so you can cancel at any time outside of your current 3 month term with a 30 day notice period. All plans are invoiced in three month (quarterly) increments.

What about set up fees? There are no setup fees, hidden fees, or surprises of any kind. You can cancel at any time – and even pause your account and re-activate it later.  We’re happy to work with you for as long or as little as you want or need.

Do you offer anything for FREE?

Yes! We’re always looking to connect with and promote great CEOs and healthy companies through our content media efforts. Contact us and we’ll discuss how to fit you into our editorial calendar.

For those who don’t know where to start, we recommend TALENTSUM 360, our talent acquisition assessment. It’s ideally suited for organizations that know they need help, but don’t exactly know where yet. It is designed to provide your team with objective feedback, fresh insights and a priority roadmap to get you moving in the right direction. It’s not free but you will thanks us later.

Tell me about the 2018 Talent Acquisition Landscape Study.

Everything we do starts with data. In 2018, our team is doing our first deep-dive into what it takes for companies to become great at attracting, engaging and hiring people. Learn more at

A few of the critical questions we’re looking to answer include:

  • How can we make our company more visible and attractive to target audiences?
  • How can we communicate a strong employer brand and compelling value proposition to those we want to hire most?
  • How can we attract, engage and hire new talent, and create a high-performance culture?
  • What strategies, trends and technologies can we embrace to achieve our goals across talent acquisition?
  • What do people value most when looking at places to work like ours?
  • Why do people choose to work – and remain engaged and committed – at their current place of employment?

Do you provide any à la carte services?

Yes. We provide ad-hoc hourly support through our TalentSum Pro plan. From there, we’re set up to grow with your needs in the following step-wise fashion:

Let’s say you just want to get to know us first. We’ll jump on the phone – or do a video chat – to discuss your challenges and goals. From there, we can continue to guide and support your ongoing efforts from the outside – or we can jump in and help you tackle special projects such as: designing a new talent strategy, building up new survey-led insights, strengthening the employer brand and EVP, delivering a new career site, choosing or implementing a new technology or a marketing-led platform, and so on.

When the time is right, we can take over entire work streams, including: content marketing, sourcing, prescreen or interview support, and more – or add supplemental support personnel to your existing team.

(Note: We DO NOT engage in “pay-to-play” agreements with technology vendors. While we have our strong opinions, we always work hard to remain technology-agnostic and back into the right set of solutions for our clients. While vendors tout their flexible nature, we’ve found every client need is slightly different – and because of this, we prefer to back into the right technology based on the individual client situation. Yes, we are aware this might leave considerable money on the table. But doing business this way helps to keep the focus on solving our clients’ needs first.)

Learn more about our capabilities. Learn more about our our services.

Tell me about your Sourcing Programs

Sourcing is the finding (or identifying) and initial engagement of larger groups of non-applicants, with the end goal of turning at least some of them into applicants. “Proactive sourcing” or “Strategic sourcing” or “social sourcing” can be used to build out longer-term initiatives such as creating talent networks and candidate pipelines with the purposes of building a relationship with many people for the longer term.

Sourcing through TalentSum is similar to purchasing a retained search service but at a more transparent and manageable rate, and without the high success fee at the end. Consider TalentSum as your Sourcing RPO Partner, or if you’re only making a few hires, consider Lite Sourcing Support to support your efforts.

Learn more about our capabilities and our services or contact us to learn how we can customize sourcing for you.

Tell us about your Product Lab

We have considerable past experience building across advertising, content marketing, media, and recruitment marketing – and it’s our current belief that recruiting is starting to look more like these every day. Especially marketing.

Take a moment to consider:

  • analytics and data analysis is more like market research than recruitment
  • employer branding is more like marketing than recruitment
  • sourcing (both strategic and social) is very closely related to marketing research
  • most of the work done in attracting and engaging talented people requires a heck of a lot of marketing
  • writing job descriptions that attract and engage requires marketing skills
  • value proposition design and validation is (in our opinion) closer to marketing and branding than recruiting

The way we recruit is evolving, and we think there are many opportunities in this space to innovate. It’s also a great way for us to create pipeline audiences of talented candidates that we can introduce to our clients.

Learn more about our products here.

Do you offer retained search services?

Our team (and founder) has completed hundreds of contingency and retained searches over the years – and we believe we’re quite good at it. We can step in to help you stop the bleeding, but our longer-term preference is always to develop a true partnership with you – one not led by the traditional high success fee approach.

Providing reasonable fees and a true consulting partnership forces us to shift our business model to align more with your real needs and objectives. We understand passing up high fees leaves a lot of money on the table, but working to secure high placement success fees is not our core mission.

All that said, there are times when it absolutely makes sense to help a client out in this manner. Our unique approach and hourly billing and/or flat-fee approach ensures complete transparency and creates an environment that holds the entire team accountable to results. Plus, in most cases it delivers exceptional hires for less than 50% of the cost of traditional contingency search.

To read what why we believe “recruiting” needs to change, you can read our views here, here and here.


Have questions? Let’s talk.

Want to discuss anything at all? Please use the contact form below.